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South Africa

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Significant improvements for an old and troubled wine region. Click the links to purchase Al and Hugh's recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.



The Wines

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite

Rooiberg Chenin Blanc, Robertson '17 ** $

Classic chenin flavor, crisp with deep fruit

Vansha White blend, Paarl '17 ** $  VALUE

Chenin Blanc and viognier, very creamy texture, balanced

Lanzerac Pinotage, Stellenbosch '14 **1/2  $

A smokey, black wine, very deep, an improved pinotage, worth trying

Ridgeback Shiraz, Paarl '14 **1/2 $$

Lots of classic shiraz flavors, black cherry, pepper, very well made

Ridgeback Safari Blend, Paarl '14 ** $

Bordeaux blend of red grapes, smooth,, intense, long finish, age-worthy

Diemersfontein "The Pinotage”, Wellington '16  **1/2  $  VALUE

Very different wine, given a "coffee" appraoch, amazing character

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
As General Partner of Clipper City Brewing Company, L.P., Hugh J. Sisson is among Baltimore's premier authorities on craft brewing and a former manager of the state's first pub brewery, Sissons, located in Federal Hill. A fifth generation Baltimorean, Hugh has been involved in all aspects of craft brewing.